We let ourselves and the fans down, says Russell Martin
PUBLISHED: 11:32 10 January 2011
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011
AUDIO: Russell Martin’s first experience of captaining Norwich City ended in a swift FA Cup exit and the admission: “We let ourselves down.”
The defender was handed the armband against Leyton Orient while the three players who had previously led the Canaries out this season were sitting on the bench.
But for former Peterborough captain Martin, who turned 25 last week, it was not an auspicious debut as City skipper. He said: “It’s disappointing for everyone involved. We let ourselves down, really, and the fans who turned up.
“We were on top a little bit in the first half and if we had scored the first goal, it would have been a totally different game.”
Instead, Jimmy Smith’s 20th-minute header for Orient proved decisive.
“Unfortunately we didn’t score and we’ve given them something to hang on to and, to be honest, credit to them. They defended really well,” said Martin.
“We didn’t create as much as we usually do and that’s the disappointing thing. It would have been nice to have a Cup run but unfortunately it’s one of those days when it’s not happened for us but we’ve got to put it to bed, like we do any victory or defeat.”
Martin said of Orient: “They were up for it, you could tell that from the start. And once they had something to hang on to, it was a totally different game, because we needed to try to get something then and it became very open, and they counter-attacked quite well. That was what they came and played for and credit to them, they stuck to their plan and carried it out well, but we should have been breaking them down and unfortunately we didn’t.”
City’s exit was just one of a string of surprises on third round day, with North East trio Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough also beaten by lower division opponents.
“As professionals, it shouldn’t happen,” said Martin. “But you see it every year in the Cup. There are always giant-killings, if you like. It’s happened to us today. I can’t put a reason on it. The lads are massively disappointed as I’m sure the fans are and the gaffer is, but we prepared in exactly the same way this week and the training has been good.
“The boys were a bit tired from the heavy week, playing Saturday and Monday, but that’s no excuse at all. We had to go again and we didn’t hit anywhere near the heights that we have recently.”